Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Outrageous Okona” (part 4 of 6)
On the bridge, the shlocky New Age background music returns and convinces me to stop smoking and play tennis better. Worf tells Data they’ve tracked another unidentified vessel, but this one isn’t responding to hails. Out in space, we see the ship fly into view, and it basically looks like someone dropped a hair dryer, broke the thing, and then decided to use half of it as this prop.
Worf reports that the ship is locking “lasers” on the Enterprise. To make sure we get the oddness of this, Worf pronounces it, “llllllllayyyysers!” A dismissive Picard exposits that “llllllayyyyysers can’t even penetrate our navigation shields!” Riker points out regulations call for a Yellow Alert. “Mmmm,” Cocky Picard says, “Very old regulation!” Well, aren’t you a bad ass?
Picard orders shields dropped, and Riker asks why. Smug Picard says, “In case we decide to surrender to them, Number One!” Okay, why don’t you just unzip your pants and whip it out right there on the bridge, Jean-Luc? You might as well. Anyway, Worf just glowers and growls.
Actually, this little exchange about lasers proved to be about the only thing in this episode that’s inspired any debate, most particularly in the never-ending “Star Trek vs. Star Wars” fan debate. Because all of the ships in Star Wars use lasers, Trekkies have been quick to quote “The Outrageous Okona” in a pointless attempt to “prove” that the Enterprise easily outmatches any ship in the Star Wars universe.
Which, of course, obviously leads to heated discussions online. Take this question, asked of the aforementioned Ronald D. Moore during a 1998 AOL chat. To get the full effect of this, just imagine the question being asked in the voice of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.
| Q: It was said in the TNG episode “The Outrageous Okona” that lasers will not even pierce the navigational deflectors. Does this mean that no laser, regardless of how much power is pumped into it, regardless of what portion of the EM spectrum is utilized, will EVER be able to harm a Federation Starship? I also would like to know precisely why Federation Shipwrights feel the need to make navigational deflectors impervious to photons. Does this protection extend to X-Rays, Gamma Rays, Microwaves, Radio Waves, and all the other parts of the EM Spectrum? If so, how does a Federation Starship manage to get any sensory information with the Nav Deflectors shoving all the radiation away from the ship? If Federation Ships deflect photons as is implied, how is it that they are visible? Wouldn’t the deflection of all light make them invisible?
Ronald D. Moore: You have exceeded my knowledge of tech in Trek—which is all too easy, I’m afraid.
Some people just have way too much time on their hands, don’t they? And now, back to my six-page dissertation on a Star Trek episode.
When we come back from commercial, the unidentified ship hails the Enterprise. On screen is a guy by the name of “Debin”, and he says he’s from the planet “Atlec”. Or maybe it’s the planet Aflac. Or Affleck. Whatever. Also, I’ll be calling him “Capulet” for the remainder of this recap, for reasons that will soon become obvious.
Capulet is dressed in the standard gray Nehru jacket of the future. Plus, he’s got a really thick beard, which kind of makes him look like the Ron Silver of the 24th Century. Capulet tells them they have no business in the Funky Cold Medina system and orders them to “prepare to be boarded!”
Riker tells Picard this is “shades of Gulliver’s Travels!” Picard points out that Capulet’s right about them not having any right to be in this system. He opens a channel and asks about the lasers being locked on them, and Capulet says it’s because the Enterprise is towing the craft of “a known criminal”.
Capulet looks off to his right, then says he knows they have Okona. “I want him!” Hey, get in line behind Troi and Wesley! Picard asks what “authority” he has, and Capulet simply says Okona’s committed some crimes on Planet Affleck. Picard has Worf hit the mute button again and asks for Troi’s advice. Troi insists “his anger is genuine!” Okay, thanks for being useful, Deanna. God, was she just the most worthless crewmember or what?
Picard takes off the mute and asks about Okona’s crimes. Capulet, however, is being Mr. Belligerent about it and won’t say. Just then, Worf announces that another ship is approaching “from the opposite sector!” It looks similar to an Affleck ship, so Picard puts Capulet on hold so he can find out about the other ship. Which makes me wonder if Capulet gets to hear some smooth jazz while he’s waiting.
Data says the other ship is from the planet “Strayleb”, and Worf grumbles, “Another glob fly.” Data explains that a “glob fly” is a Klingon mosquito with no sting that just makes an annoying buzzing sound. What? Padding? Not in this episode!
Picard hails the other ship, and on the other end is “Secretary Kushell” of the planet Strayleb, who I’ll be referring to as “Montague” for the remainder of this recap, again for reasons that will soon be obvious. Montague is a middle-aged guy in a purple Nehru coat, and standing behind him is a pimply faced kid with a Justin Timberlake haircut. (And in the I Couldn’t Make This Up Even If I Wanted To Department, the kid actually guest-starred on the same episode of Seinfeld as Teri Hatcher! He was the guy who got into a fight with George Costanza for “double-dipping” his chip!)
Anyway, it seems Montague has had a phone tap on Capulet’s ship, and he already knows about Capulet’s demands. In a stunning development straight out of left field, Montague demands they turn Okona over to him instead of Capulet. Whoa! Who’da thunk it?
Picard gives Worf the “cut” sign and Worf says, “Mute.” Great job, Worf. Now all he needs to do is stick that thing in his ear and keep his back to the camera, and he’ll be about as indispensable as Uhura.
Picard orders Okona to the bridge, then un-mutes Montague. Picard says Planet Affleck—which I assume is a world of six billion people all with perfectly capped teeth—has made the same demand, but Montague doesn’t care, and starts yelling about how his “honor and prestige are at stake!” Montague Jr. tries to reason with him, but Montague ignores his son and yells that they’re willing to take Okona by force, even if they die in the attempt.
Picard says he hopes that can be avoided, and abruptly signs off. Worf says there’s no response from Okona, who’s been seen in “three different crew quarters!” Oh, gross. Let’s hope they’ve cured genital warts by the 24th Century. Picard tells Worf to go get him and bring him to the bridge. Worf eagerly says, “Yes, sir!” Worf, would you like some mustard to go with that relish?